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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


vigorously with each other and with the sceptical descendants of
the sophists. The Academy, in spite of many changes of doctrine,
maintained a continuous existence, with some considerable
breaks in the succession of scholarchs, till the Sixth Century A.D.
In case of the other three, the direct line of scholarehs came to
an end in the First Century B,c. or shortly after. But the schools
themselves persisted for a century or two longer, and were all
officially recognized in the " university " constituted and endowed
by the Emperor Hadrian, Ultimately, however, they dwindled
away before the growing strength of the rhetorical schools of the
following centuries. Only the Academy, rejuvenated for a time
by the Nco-Platonic movement, was left to carry on the unequal
struggle against the anti-philosophical tendencies of the new age;
and it, too, finally succumbed.

All through the centuries in which the Hellenistic culture was
spreading to the east and the west, the Athenian schools enjoyed
a unique pre-eminence. The reverence that people over the
civilized world had for Greece as the motherland of learning
brought students from every country (and especially from the
East) to share in its intellectual activities and to play an in-
creasingly important part in the leadership of its schools. In
point of scholarship, it is true, Athens, despite much good work
in philosophy and history, was eclipsed by the new institutions
for the advancement of knowledge which had sprung up under
royal patronage in Alexandria, Pergarnum, Antioch, Rhodes and
elsewhere in the Macedonian kingdoms. She lacked the rich
endowments and the great libraries which made their achieve-
ments possible. But as a teaching centre, she remained without
a rival till the beginning of the Christian era* In Athens, as no-
where else in the world, the personal relationship of master and
disciples, which was one of the most characteristic features of the
old Greek education, retained all its ancient virtue,

The educational work of Alexandria, the most outstanding of
the new centres of learning, was quite different from that of
Athens. Little teaching seems to have been done in the first
century and a half after the founding of the city ; and such as it
was, it was subordinate to the labour of erudite research which
went on on a huge scale in connection with its libraries and
museum. The great library was created by Ptolemy Soter, the
first of the dynasty which ruled Egypt from 323 Ba till the